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Seven Questions: Matt Erickson, VP of Restaurant Operations at SBE

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LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions" If you have a suggestion for a future Seven Questions subject send us an email.

Today’s subject is Matt Erickson, the VP of Restaurant Operations at SBE.

As the role of entertainment has grown in mainstream culture in recent years, LA - the hub of entertainment - has seen a renaissance in arts, including museums, galleries, performance venues, and perhaps most decidedly, in the culinary arts. Restaurants in LA have stepped their game up, and one of the biggest players in that effort has been Sam Nazarian’s SBE, introducing restaurant brands like Katsuya, The Bazaar and XIV, partnering with creative forces like Philippe Starck, Michael Mina and José Andrés. And in charge of all operations and expansion for the SBE Restaurant Group, is Matt Erickson, who started as a bartender and worked his way to the top.

Captain of two of the three sports he played in High School and a Division 1 baseball player at Central Connecticut, Erickson broke his ankle senior year in college, ruining his chances of getting drafted to the Major Leagues. But while he didn’t grow up a hardcore chef, foodie or wine aficionado, the ability to lead a team that Matt learned from sports has been what made him a player in the restaurant business.

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In addition to expanding the current offerings of SBE ventures in LA, Erickson’s next task is bringing the Katsuya brand national, spreading the taste of LA around the country, one Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna at a time. We caught up with Erickson to find out his recipe for success, favorite LA menu items, how to get a reservation and best celebrity stories from the job.